With friendly people, tasty food and a great climate beside the Med-iterranean, there really isn’t anything not to like about Lebanon’s capital. The history spans from the time of the Phoenicians, and whatever your interests, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by Beirut.
Fill the days with beach-time or sight-seeing. The Corniche is easily the best place to people-spot, if for nothing more than the complete cross-section of Beirut society. Everyone from old men playing backgammon, to teenagers with their friends, to toddlers learning to ride their first bicycle will turn up at this promenade. A common hobby for the locals is to park near a public bench, play music loudly from their cars and share a hookah pipe with friends and family. It’s also a hot spot for pole fishing in the Med, and be sure to give into the temptation of your smell – much of what is on offer by the food-vendors is tasty and extremely wallet-friendly. Also in the day, there are a number of museums and historical sites that are worth checking out, including the Baalbek Ruins, where you will realise how far the history of Beirut really does stretch back at this Roman-period temple. Shopaholics will be in heaven too, with everything from the latest designer labels in fancy shops and malls to souks selling more traditional items. Even for the shopping-averse, the souks are still worth a visit. Set in labyrinthine alleyways, witness shopkeepers creating and selling their goods in the same way they have done for centuries.
But the real excitement begins in the nighttime, with Beirut considered by many to have the best nightlife in the Middle East. As well as SkyBar, Crystal and White are all places to see and be seen in, attracting the most glamorous crowds in the city.
While you’re there…
Go clubbing at SkyBar
You won’t lose your friends in SkyBar as no matter where you stand, you can see everyone! Prepare for great views of the Mediterranean Sea, tasty cocktails and the latest mixes that are guaranteed to keep you dancing all night long.
Eat lunch at Bay Rock
Overlooking the stunning Pigeon Rocks, choose from a wide-ranging menu of traditional Lebanese food and accompany it with a flavoured shisha pipe.
Visit the Jeita Grotto
Witness the extraordinary stalactites and stalagmites from the comfort of a boat in this huge series of natural caves, not far from the capital.
Where to stay
Located in the historic heart of Beirut, Le Gray is in walking distance to the city’s best shopping and entertainment districts. The 87 rooms and suites ooze luxury with cool modern interiors. The bathrooms include Aqua televisions and walk-in showers, and fresh flowers and fruit are delivered to the rooms daily.
The PureGray Health Club and Spa, located inside the hotel, offers custom-made therapies combining European and Eastern philosophies in a rich holistic experience. Six treatment rooms, including a double treatment room for couples, offers a select menu of innovative and restorative treatments from Spanish skincare house Natura Bissé. For tourists looking to work off a heavy night, there is a gym equipped with Technogym machines and personal training sessions with highly professional Personal Trainers and tailor-made programmes.
With endless choices throughout the city, guests may still opt for the hotel’s in-house options. Gordon’s Café serves light breakfast, fresh salads, organic dishes, fresh fish, homemade pasta and English afternoon tea with homemade tarts. There’s also Indigo on The Roof, which offers A la carte breakfast, lunch and dinner, serving beef and fish with a Mediterranean twist.
But as well as a relaxing spa, and delicious food, the real pull comes in the form of the 17-metre chlorine-free swimming pool on the roof, where guests can escape the city and enjoy views of both the Med and Mount Lebanon. During the night the same views are available from Bar ThreeSixty – the hotel’s elegant rooftop bar.
For the festive season, Le Gray is offering a special holiday package. Enjoy three nights in an Executive Suite, with daily breakfast and your choice of a festive dinner on December 24 or lunch on December 25 with a bottle of Lebanese grape beverage and a special Le Gray holiday gift.
The package is valid between 22 and 27 December 2011 and priced at Dhs5,200 for two people.
James Blunt – After performing, the English crooner was spotted enjoying the nightlife.